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Katrina Kaif (pronounced [kəˈʈriːnaː ˈkɛːf]; born Katrina Turquotte; 16 July 1983) is an English actress who works in Hindi films. She has established herself in Bollywood and is one of India’s highest-paid actresses.
Born in Hong Kong, Kaif and her family lived in several countries before she moved to London. She received her first modelling assignment as a teenager and later pursued a career as a fashion model. At a fashion show in London, filmmaker Kaizad Gustad spotted Kaif and decided to cast her in Boom (2003), a critical and commercial failure. While filming in India, Kaif received modelling assignments and established a successful modelling career. However, filmmakers were hesitant to cast her due to her poor command of Hindi. After appearing in the Telugu film, Malliswari (2004), Kaif earned commercial success in Bollywood with the romantic comedies Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya? (2005) and Namastey London (2007). She followed with a series of box-office hits, but was criticised for her acting, repetitive roles and inclination to male-dominated films.
Kaif’s performance in the terrorism drama New York (2009) was better received, earning her a Filmfare Award for Best Actress nomination. After starring roles in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), Raajneeti (2010) and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), she received her second Filmfare nomination for her performance in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011). Kaif’s highest-grossing films came with the action thrillers Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Dhoom 3 (2013) and Bang Bang! (2014), all of which rank among the highest-grossing Indian films. She followed this with roles in a series of films that did not perform well commercially, with the exception of the action sequel Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) and the drama Bharat (2019), but received praise for playing an alcoholic actress in the romantic drama Zero (2018), for which she received a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In addition to acting, Kaif is involved with her mother’s charity and participates in stage shows. She is guarded about her personal life, which is a subject of media scrutiny, as is her background.
Career fluctuations (2015–present)
Kaif’s sole appearance of 2015 was with Saif Ali Khan in Kabir Khan’s post 26/11 counter-terrorism drama Phantom. In 2016, Kaif appeared in two films. In Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Kaif played a role based on Estella Havisham along with Aditya Roy Kapur and Tabu. Later that year she featured in Nitya Mehra’s love story Baar Baar Dekho with Sidharth Malhotra. Both films were critical and commercial failures. In a review for the former, Namrata Joshi wrote: “Katrina is good so long as she has to just be herself. So she dances, smiles and flirts well, but the minute a dramatic scene comes up, her utter inadequacy as a performer shows.”
Kaif next appeared alongside Ranbir Kapoor in Anurag Basu’s comedy-adventure film Jagga Jasoos, which was released in 2017 after multiple delays. The film opened to mixed critical response and was a commercial disappointment. Mayank Shekhar from Mid Day said, “Honestly, I know no two faces as pleasant as Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif on the Indian screen. They naturally shine before the camera.” In the same year, Kaif reteamed with Salman Khan and reprised the role of Zoya in the Ali Abbas Zafar’s action thriller film Tiger Zinda Hai, sequel to the 2012 film Ek Tha Tiger. The film released on Christmas weekend and opened to strong box office collections, collecting over ₹1.1 billion within three days of release. Rachit Gupta of Filmfare wrote, “The screenplay goes easy on [Kaif] by not giving her stand and dialogue. Instead, she does the bulk of the hand to hand combat and gun fights and she looks the part. It’s invigorating to see a lady kick-ass with so much élan and pull all the punches like they’re real.”
In 2018, Kaif played a supporting role in the period action-adventure film Thugs of Hindostan, marking her second collaboration with Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and director Vijay Krishna Acharya. Kaif was also a female lead, alongside Anushka Sharma, in Anand L Rai’s Zero, playing an alcoholic actress and marking her second collaboration with Shah Rukh Khan and Sharma (after 2012’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan). Zero received mixed reviews from critics, but Kaif’s portrayal of an alcoholic actress earned her critical praise, with Udita Jhunjhunwala of Mint crediting for her for delivering “what could be considered her most authentic performance”. She received a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. However, both Thugs of Hindustan and Zero were commercially unsuccessful.
In 2019, Kaif once again collaborated with Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar in the drama Bharat, an adaptation of the South Korean film Ode to My Father (2014). The film became the third highest grossing Hindi film of 2019 in its opening week. Kaif will next appear in Rohit Shetty’s action film Sooryavanshi.